Population viability analyses for Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus) are highly sensitive to survival estimates, especially those of adults. Thus, the discrepancy between the previous adult survival estimate for the Great Plains Piping Plover population (0.664, SE = 0.057) and estimates from other regions and closely related species prompted us to re-examine banding data for Great Plains plovers. We used published data plus three additional years of band resightings, data from banded juveniles, and a new modeling approach to estimate local annual survival rates of adults and immatures for a breeding site in central North Dakota in 1984–1994. Mean adult survival was 0.737 (SE = 0.092), and the temporal variance was 0.040–0.045. Immature survival was 0.318 (SE = 0.075), but true immature survival is probably higher, mostly due to unknown but likely high dispersal rates. Based on our revised survival estimate for adult Piping Plovers and projections from published plover population models, it is likely that the feasibility of recovering the Great Plains population is greater than previously thought.
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Vol. 71 • No. 4